A Labor of Love
Fall doesn't officially begin until September 22nd, but let's be honest, the signs of Autumn are in full swing. The pools are closed. The Buckeye Battle Cry has once again permeated the quickly cooling air. Oktoberfest and everything pumpkin are fresh on the shelves. Fantasy football drafts have concluded and we Browns fans have that weird twitch in our eye; biology's inherent warning that the poor eye's sights have once again been trumped by the brain's delusions of grandeur. Surely, an undefeated preseason could lead to a Brown's Super Bowl victory! Perhaps I read last month's blog article, Calling for a Ton of "Can", too many times (shameless plug).
Labor Day always makes me think of the phrase "a labor of love." The infamous idiom has biblical origins, and when I was young I needed more than a prayer to understand it. Looking back, I believe my late grandmother was responsible for finally indoctrinating this doctor. Ever true to her Italian roots, life's lessons were given in the kitchen, during meal preparations and dish washing (my favorite). The three big themes were:
1) "You don't know how lucky you are to have parents like yours," LISTEN to them
2) Work hard and when you think you can't work anymore, start really working
3) Mangia, Mangia (translation: eat up, grandson!).
Over the years, I began to understand it wasn't the homemade sauce, the hand-rolled raviolis and meatballs, or the pizzelles that were Grandma Ginny's "labor of love." They were just vehicles she used to bring joy, happiness, and even hope to others. Grandma got life, got people. She passed away in September of 2006 as I finished my first week of college in Columbus. For a woman who gave so many gifts in my life, I don't believe it's a coincidence that I also met my wife, Shannon, that same unforgettable week.
There is tremendous value in living a "labor of love." Some enjoy their labors, some more so the love they bring. Consequently, I experience both when cooking. It has become one of my main hobbies, a reprieve from the day's stresses and an oasis of nostalgia and meditation. I even feel a sense of accomplishment when cleaning the pans and sauce-splattered stove, although Shannon may disagree!
We all have our own unique experiences that affect us down the proverbial road. Interesting how it has become commonplace to only remember (or post) the peaks or valleys and not the substantial, ever-shaping constants. I fear we are a culture moving away from labors of love. Effort and time are being forfeited for convenience and instant gratification. If you fall into the stereotype of thinking it's just Millennials, wake up and take a look in the mirror. Labeling and blaming other generations is about as effortless and instantly gratifying as it gets! And to what end?
Find a "labor of love." Seek one out. Spend time, spend effort on something meaningful to you that can also be meaningful to others. Share it. You'll be surprised where the journey might take you. Perhaps, to the kitchen or writing a blog or maybe, just maybe, your oral health will become an impactful love worth the labor.
Dr. George R. Williams is a general dentist at Williams Family Dental Group in Canton, Ohio. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and Canton Mercy Medical Center General Practice Residency. For questions or suggestions for blog posts, please feel free to contact him at email@example.com